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Holder’s Talking, but What is He Saying?

Friday, December 9, 2011

So far,NRA, 52 U.S. Representatives, two U.S. Senators, and multiple GOP Presidential candidates have called on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign because of his role in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive’s failed “Operation Fast and Furious.” 

Holder has steadfastly maintained that he and top Department of Justice officials did not know the scope or details of the operation until they became public earlier this year, but this week, in advance of  hearings before the House Judiciary Committee, Holder called the “gun-walking” tactic used in the operation  “inexcusable” and “wholly unacceptable.”  He went on to say that many of the “walked” guns will likely continue to show up at crime scenes in the U.S. and Mexico. 

"Although the department has taken steps to ensure that such tactics are never used again, it is an unfortunate reality that we will continue to feel the effects of this flawed operation for years to come.  Guns lost during this operation will continue to show up at crime scenes on both sides of the border."

Amidst allegations of intentional lies and deception, and facing increased scrutiny, on Friday, December 2, DOJ turned over to Congress documents detailing how DOJ officials gave inaccurate information to U.S. Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) regarding the “Fast and Furious” operation. 

In a letter last February to Sen. Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, DOJ said that the BATFE had not sanctioned the sale of “assault weapons” to a straw purchaser and that the agency makes every effort to intercept weapons that have been purchased illegally.  As we now know, both statements are incorrect.

In an unusual move, DOJ turned over 1,364 pages of related material last week.  Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote Grassley and U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that is looking into the Obama administration's handling of “Fast and Furious,” saying, “we will make a rare exception to the department's recognized protocols and provide you with information related to how the inaccurate information came to be included in the letter." 

Yesterday, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Holder was back in the hot-seat and back on the defensive, still asserting that top DOJ officials were not told about the "inappropriate tactics" until they were made public, and still trying to defend the obvious discrepancy between what was said earlier this year and what is now coming to light.

In one exchange, Rep. Issa said to Holder, "Yesterday, Mr. Attorney General, we became aware that e-mail between [chief of the DOJ's criminal division] Lanny Breuer and the deputy -- his deputy, Jason Weinstein, about Fast and Furious in March time frame, that they exist. Some of these -- actually all of these have been withheld from the committee. Will you agree to turn over those communications in the March time frame between Lenny Breuer and his deputy, Jason Weinstein?”

Holder:  “March of what year?”

Issa: “2011.”

Holder:  “As I have indicated, we are not going to be turning over materials after February.”

Issa:  “Are you aware that you are in fact, by doing so, in the fact that we already issued from the Oversight Committee a subpoena, you are standing in contempt of Congress unless you have a valid reason, that you express it, that you provide logs, which you've refused to provide for the -- the other information? Otherwise you will leave the committee no choice but to seek contempt for your failure to deliver or to cite a constitutional exemption.”

Holder:  “We will respond in a way that is consistent with the way in which the Justice Department has always responded to those kinds of requests.”

In an exchange with U.S. Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), Rep. Sensenbrenner asked Holder, "Tell me what's the difference between lying and misleading Congress, in this context?" 

Holder responded, "Well, if you want to have this legal conversation, it all has to do with your state of mind and whether or not you had the requisite intent to come up with something that would be considered perjury or a lie."

Sensenbrenner said it is "obvious" there was some knowledge up and down the chain at the Justice Department, and that there has merely been "an attempt to find scapegoats" for the operation.  "Mr. Attorney General, the blame must go to your desk.  And you must today take real responsibility. Why haven't you terminated the many people involved?"

Sensenbrenner went on to say that the American people deserve to know the truth and are relying on Congress to get the truth, which has so far been elusive.

"You're here today as a way to get truth -- but the answers that you have given so far, are basically saying, 'Well, gee, somebody else did it,'" Sensenbrenner said.  “There is really no responsibility within the Justice Department.  If we don't get to the bottom of this -- and that requires your assistance on that -- there is only one alternative that Congress has, and it’s called impeachment... It is an expensive and messy affair, and I don't want to go this far."

NRA-ILA has prepared a video that all freedom-loving Americans need to watch showing that Holder's actions prove he can't be trusted with the sanctity of our freedoms, the powers of his office, or the lives of our law enforcement officers.  To watch the video, please click here.

Please help spread the word and forward this video to family, friends and fellow gun owners.

To view a NRA News video of reporter Ginny Simone talking with Rep. Sensenbrenner about Holder's appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, please click here.

To view videos of Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) questioning Holder before the House Judiciary Committee, please click here, and here.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.